Following the issue of an amendment notification which seeks to debar disabled persons from being able to practice medicine, the general secretary of the National Platform for Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) has written a letter to Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda, opposing the amendment. On Wednesday, the General Secretary, Muralidharan stated in his letter that the modification of the Regulation on Graduate Medical Education of 1997, which has been brought under scrutiny, is in â€śclear violation of the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.â€ť
â€śThe revised regulations prohibit those with locomotor disabilities above 80 per cent from getting admitted to MBBS, as it pronounces them â€śineligibleâ€ť. Same is true with those with blood disorders. The notification also debars students with chronic neurological conditions with a disability of over 80 per cent. This is in contempt of the Supreme Court directions in the Sachin v/s State of Haryana and Others (SLP(C)25936/2018). You may recall that in our letter to you dated August 14, 2018, we had, while strongly objecting to the guidelines published by the MCI last year, stated that in the framing of the guidelines, certain preconceived notions and prejudices were patently visible. We had also underlined that it was drafted without proper application of mind, oblivious of the best practices worldwide and divorced from the reality that advances in science and technology have become great enablers,â€ť states the letter.
He further cites examples from the Journal of Ethics, where it has been noted that several physicians work and operate despite having disabilities, with the help of aiding measures. â€śHemato-oncologist, Dr. Suresh Advani who was awarded the Padma Vibhushan is a living example of a wheelchair-user with disability of above 80 per cent,â€ť he says in the letter, adding that making people ineligible to practice or take up medicine goes against the ministryâ€™s own suggestion that those with a certified disability of over 80 percent be allowed to pursue their careers with the help of â€śassistive devices.â€ť
The letter also makes a plea to revise the current MCI (Medical Council of India) guidelines so that people with disabilities are able to pursue medical studies and a career in the same, instead of upholding guidelines which would deter them from joining the course.